By Rachael Brothers
In the article Can Online Teaching Improve Face to Face Instruction? posted by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning; Michael L. Rodgers and Mary Harriet Talbut highlight the skills learned when teaching online courses, and their positive impact on the traditional face-to-face classroom.
Even though online courses have been around for years, there are still a number of faculty that have little to no experience teaching or facilitating a class of this nature. Most universities do offer training in a traditional classroom setting for both new hires and GTA’s, however it is not as common to offer training strictly for online course instruction. According to Rodgers and Talbut, the advantages to engaging in online instruction can result in the development of valuable skills that are easily transferable to the traditional classroom. Rodgers and Talbut outline some of these advantages in the rest of their article (summarized below).
Keeping your online class well organized will enable both you and your students to achieve the best results from the class. Consistent upkeep of the course materials and modules, along with posting the assignment due dates and test dates, will keep your course from derailing into un-organization and chaos. Since there are no face to face lectures, all the course modules must be cohesive and clearly meet the course objectives and educational goals. This will serve to eliminate confusion over student expectations and grades.
When posting material for your online course, it is helpful to create everything as streamlined and accessible as possible. Insert hyperlinks next to reading sources that will either take them to another section of the reading materials, or to additional resources online.
Teachers utilizing resources for online courses may find that those will cross over well into the traditional classroom as well. Things like discussion forums, drop-boxes for homework, online forums for assignment resources and assignments can all be valuable tools for teachers in any classroom.
Yes there still is some student interaction in an online course. While there may not be the traditional first day introductions and icebreakers, the online course facilitator can still create a way to let students introduce themselves and get to know each other. This will aid students during group projects, and collaboration later in the semester.
Progress reports and assessment tools are essential in the online classroom. Since there is no face to face interaction, opportunities for feedback and advising are just as important for student development and success.
In the long run: the amount of planning, resources, tools, and communication involved in planning an online course forces you to develop a comprehensive teaching strategy. These skills learned will easily transfer to the traditional classroom, establish consistent teaching practices, and improve the overall organization of your class.
To read the full article, please go to cgi.stanford.edu
Rodgers, M., & Talbut, M. (2013, December 1). 1321 Can Online Teaching Improve Face to Face Instruction? Retrieved February 13, 2015, from http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/enewsletter.php?msgno=1321